Northwestern BC First Nation expects RCMP to enforce injunction

Talks continue to break impasse over pipeline construction in northern B.C.

Talks continue to break impasse over pipeline construction in northern B.C.

Following several hours of meetings, Chief Na'Moks told reporters Thursday that the agreement is between the chiefs and the RCMP to ensure the safety of the First Nation's members after 14 arrests were made on Monday when a court injunction was enforced by police. "And that's not right".

According to the agreement, Na'Moks says company workers will be allowed across a bridge and the RCMP will also remove a roadblock that was preventing some members of the nation from accessing a Unist'ot'en healing camp near the bridge.

"This is our home, we should feel safe in our home", she said. "Coastal GasLink is committed to continuing dialogue with all parties as we go about fulfilling our investment in delivering a world-class project [and] employment and economic benefits to BC communities and First Nations".

TransCanada Corp., which announced plans to change its name to TC Energy on Wednesday, says it has signed agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the path, including the Wet'suwet'en.

The meeting is being held at the Office of the Wet'suwet'en regarding the natural gas company's access to a bridge in the First Nation's traditional territory. Its Coastal GasLink pipeline would run through the Wet'suwet'en territory to LNG Canada's $40 billion export terminal in Kitimat, B.C.

Trudeau said he was pleased tensions had eased between police and the First Nations over the pipeline on Wednesday night, and the time will come to answer questions about what was done and how it could have been handled differently. "We have court ruling after court ruling that has affirmed we need to find a better way forward".

"This is the clash of two forms of government", he said in an interview Tuesday.

It is also setting up a temporary RCMP detachment on the road that will be staffed by general duty police officers who "will undergo cultural awareness training on the Wet'suwet'en traditions and will have enhanced training in conflict resolution", the Mounties said in a news release. "Our people stand with all of them now as their allies and also support their posture as it connects to their title and even rights of their traditional terrain and the unwarranted violation inflicted through the federal government".

"There is a whole series of Supreme Court (of Canada) decisions that say if there are established rights and title-holders, if you are going to infringe on those rights, then you have to justify and accommodate for it", he said.

With files from Laura Kane in Kamloops, B.C.

"One of the barriers will be taken down, but that does not mean we support this project", said Chief Na'Moks.